The Pirates are close to finalizing a deal to add right-hander Jason Grilli to the bullpen. No official announcement will come until after Grilli, 34, passes a physical.
Though Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he would hold any comments on the topic until after the signing is official, he noted that Grilli is someone the club has been eyeing.
“We have interest,” Hurdle said. “We have made a call on a number of people. I think what we’re also letting people know is that we’re not going to sit back and listen to the tremendous astronomical asks that are being presented to us for some of the other personnel we’ve made contact on.
“We’re going to be creative, and we’ve talked about a number of guys who are in the Minor Leagues trying to find their way back with some Major League experience. He would fall into that category.”
News of the acquisition was actually released by Grilli, who, shortly after midnight, tweeted: “Black & Yellow! Black & Yellow! Black & Yellow! Cannot wait to join the new squadron.” Grilli has since followed that up with a tweet that links to an article about the Pirates.
Grilli did not pitch in 2010 due to right knee surgery and signed a Minor League deal with the Phillies this winter. That contract included an out clause that Grilli could trigger on June 1, but the right-hander was on the disabled list at that time.
Grilli returned to the mound later that month and has continued to do well for Triple-A Lehigh Valley since. In 28 games this season, Grilli has a 1.98 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. He has limited opponents to a .217 batting average.
– Jenifer Langosch
For the first time in a long time, the Pirates are approaching the Trade Deadline as buyers. Sitting .5 games out of first on Monday, the Pirates have centered their attention around finding a right-handed bat that could fit into the middle of the lineup and relief help. Finding a bat to slot into a corner outfield spot or third base would seem to make the most sense for the Pirates.
One source told MLB.com that the Pirates are going to “kick the tires” on Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, who is making $18.5 million this season. This is the final year of Beltran’s contract, and if a team is willing to take on his salary, the Mets aren’t likely to require too much in return. Whether it’s Beltran or anyone else with a similar contract status, it could be ideal for the Pirates to take on salary rather than give up good prospects in a mid-season deal. That way, the Pirates could make a run at the 2011 postseason without compromising the foundation they’ve built in the Minors.
That said, the GM Neal Huntington has said the organization is willing to deal prospects for the right acquisition.
It is not a guarantee, though, that the Pirates are going to be extremely active over the next two weeks. The club has eight players currently on the disabled list and seven could be back with the club this season. Four could return before August. That, alone, will give the club a boost, and the Pirates are already internally debating whether those internal options are better than other external ones.
– Jenifer Langosch